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Polk County, Florida Drug Officers Play Video Games While Serving Search Warrant

I found an article showing Polk County, Florida (about four hours south of Jacksonville, Florida) police officers serving a search warrant looking for drugs. They did not realize that the owner of the house set up surveillance cameras in his house. While some of the police officers appeared to be searching the house, several others were playing Wii bowling, a popular new video game. You can read the article and see the video here.

I can honestly say I have never seen anything like this before. But the real question for the person charged with the drug crime(s) is what effect this improper police behavior will have on his case. The right to search the house was based on a search warrant. Assuming that search warrant was valid and based on probable cause, this behavior probably will not affect the police officers’ right to enter the house. However the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures also affects what the police can do once they enter the house pursuant to a valid search warrant.

The search of a house must be conducted as quickly and efficiently as necessary to search only for the items listed in the search warrant. Obviously, if police officers are playing video games rather than getting in, getting the search done and getting out, they are not abiding by their Fourth Amendment obligations. A criminal defense lawyer would file a Motion to Suppress based on the alleged Fourth Amendment violation to try and have any drug seized in the house thrown out. In any case, if the drug charges go to a jury, the criminal defense lawyer has a lot to argue about the reliability of the police and the manner in which the drug investigation was conducted.